Page 1

Spring 2014

Vol. 44, No. 2




Regional Efforts to Close the Achievement Gap Equity Primer Considerations for Governing Boards

progress report: ASBA’s Political Agenda in 2014

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Spring 2014

Vol. 44, No. 2

l DEPARTMENTS 3 President’s Message The Why’s and How’s of Being a Good Board Member By J. Elaine Hall, ASBA President

5 Viewpoints Why Do You Do This Work? Your answer is more important than ever By Dr. Timothy Ogle, ASBA Executive Director 6



ASBA Calendar of Events

15 Education and the Law Getting On, Staying On and Getting Off a School Board By Chris Thomas, ASBA General Counsel and Director of Legal and Policy Services


Leadership Matters Preparing College Hires and What that Means for Us


NSBA Annual Conference in Pictures 74th National School Boards Association Annual Conference

25 Profile in Leadership  Mari Alvarado, Alhambra Elementary School District 27 Closing the Gap  Regional center targets educational equity issues By Don Harris

31 Educational Equity: Considerations for School Boards By Don Harris


A Board Member Primer: Identifying Inequity

 By Karen Loftus, ASBA Director of Leadership Development

20 Capitol View Progress Report: ASBA’s 2014 Political Agenda  By Janice Palmer, ASBA Director of Governmental Relations & Public Affairs


ASBA Affiliate Members

Glendale Union HSD’s work around equity issues has garnered national attention. Read more beginning on page 27.

ASBA Journal I Spring 2014 1

Arizona School Boards Association l Officers President J. Elaine Hall President Elect Jesus Rubalcava Treasurer Kathy Knecht Secretary Julie Bacon Immediate Past President Randy Schiller

l County Directors, Caucus Leadership and NSBA Representatives Apache Arnold Goodluck Cochise Jeffery Crandall Coconino Jerry Williams Gila Barbara Underwood Graham James Bryce Greenlee Luis Montoya La Paz Barbara “Harlow” Harper Maricopa Bill Adams Maricopa Bonnie Sneed Mohave Tom Duranceau Navajo Linda Yazzie Pima Jim Love Pima Sara Mae Williams Pinal Torri Anderson Santa Cruz Maria Neuman Yavapai Ken Dobson Yuma Marvin Marlatt Hispanic/Native American Indian Caucus Eva Carillo Dong Black Caucus Maxine Hill

l Staff Executive Director Dr. Timothy Ogle Director of Administrative Services Ellen White Director of Communications Tracey Benson Director of Governmental Relations/Public Affairs Janice Palmer Director of Leadership Development Karen Loftus Director of Legal and Policy Services/ General Counsel Chris Thomas Assistant Director of Policy Services Dr. Terry L. Rowles Executive Search and Senior Policy Consultant Steve Highlen Policy Consultant David DeCabooter Technology and Information Specialist Michael Barcia Governmental Relations Analyst Geoff Esposito Education Reporter Lisa Irish Policy Technician Renae Watson Member Services Coordinator Shirley Simpson Secretary to the Executive Director Kristi Johnson Administrative Secretary Jolene Hale Administrative Secretary Sara Nilsson Administrative Secretary Elizabeth Sanchez Receptionist Lindsay Jenner Publication Policy: Articles printed herein may be divergent in point of view and controversial in nature. The materials published in each issue represent the ideas or beliefs of those who write them, and not necessarily the views or policies of the Arizona School Boards Association. © 2013 by the Arizona School Boards Association. Address all correspondence to: ASBA Journal Editor 2100 N. Central Ave., Suite 200 Phoenix, AZ 85004 Phone: 602-254-1100; 1-800-238-4701; Website: Annual subscription rate $24 Production and Design by S&L Printing & Mailing, Inc. 1428 W. San Pedro • Gilbert, AZ 85233 • 480-497-8081

2 ASBA Journal I Spring 2014

A r i z o n a S ch o o l B o a r ds Ass o c i at i o n Quality leadership and advocacy for children in public schools.

Our Mission Promoting elected local governance of public education and continuous improvement of student success by providing leadership and assistance to public school governing boards.

Our Goals Provide model training and leadership emphasizing best practices in public school governance. Represent and advocate for the diverse interests of public school governing boards. Advocate the core beliefs and political agenda as adopted by the membership.

Our Core Beliefs ASBA believes… The basic life needs of children must be met for them to succeed. Meeting the unique educational needs of all students must be the foundation of our school systems. The governance of public schools must lie with locally elected and accountable school district governing boards. The accountability for student success is a shared responsibility of the students, parents, governing board, district staff and the community. Public education funding must be broad-based, stable and at a level that assures all students receive an education that enables them to be successful. State and federal mandates must be funded. Knowledgeable and professionally trained governing board members are fundamental for ensuring student success.

Learn more at

l PresidenT’S Message By J. Elaine Hall, ASBA President

The Why’s and How’s of Being a Good Board Member


will be open at the end of the year. All too often there are have served as an elected member of the Sahuarita Unified not enough candidates running to fill all the school board School Board since Jan. 1, 2000. This position continues seats that are open. It is important for current school board to provide me with more satisfaction and fulfillment members to reach out into our communities and encourage than any paying job I ever held. I have been asked, “Why do people who we feel would make responsible board members you keep doing this? You don’t get paid, and the government to run. and other entities are attacking public education so strongly.” School board service is the very basis of our way of gov­ The short answer is, I do it for the kids. ern­ment. No elected official is closer to the community It’s not surprising that some folks wonder what motivates it serves than the members of our local school board. You school board members to serve, especially in this political don’t have to have specialized knowledge of all the laws that climate. Never in our history has public education been govern schools – that is why ASBA is such an important under such fierce attack by so many who do not truly know association. Our staff is dedicated to teaching each and every what goes on in our public schools nor what it takes to board member what he or she needs to know to perform their govern them. There are those in government and connected responsibilities as school district governing board members. to some “think tanks” who make the claim that school What you must have is a love for our children, and a boards are outdated and should be abolished. However, true desire to work for what is best for their education and according to many studies and a prominent report released future as active, fulfilled and knowledgeable citizens of our by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in March, that’s simply country. not true. In fact, the Fordham report, titled “Does School I opened this column with a comment about not getting Board Leadership Matter?”, emphatically says that school paid for board service. Actually, I get “paid” every time I board leadership does matter. In addition, the report notes attend an assembly at one of our schools, or a performance that “districts that are more successful academically have by one of the bands, dance classes and drama performances. board members who assign high priority to improving I get paid every May when I attend our Awards Night and student learning.” listen to all of the scholarships that are being awarded to It is the responsibility of local school boards to set policy so many of our seniors. I get paid when we receive for their district. This includes a broad range of subjects, news of one of our groups participating in state, including discipline, hiring and firing practices, regional or national competitions – and financial oversight, cur­­riculum and many sometimes bringing home trophies or more issues. Individual school board What you must medals. That is a special pay day. Being members do not have the power or on one of our campuses for an open responsibility to decide these things. have is a love for our house or other event, and having The only time a school board has children, and a true desire to students come up and talk to me these powers is when it meets as a – yep, another pay day. To me body in an open session, which has work for what is best for their the rewards of seeing our students been posted in advance according excel and become successful young to Arizona Open Meeting Law. education and future as active, adults far outweighs any little bit of This is an election year, and fulfilled and knowledgeable work that I have invested in the past there are many school boards 13.5 years on my school board. through­out the state with seats that

citizens of our country.

ASBA Journal I Spring 2014 3

4 ASBA Journal I Spring 2014

l viewpoints By Dr. Timothy Ogle, ASBA Executive Director

Why Do You Do This Work? Your answer is more important than ever


here was a time, in the early years of my career when I worked as a teacher and then a principal, that answering the question “Why do you do this work?” was easy. We knew public education was the cornerstone of communities. We viewed teaching as an honorable and respected profession. We had high expec­ ta­ tions for students. We celebrated when hard-to-reach students made strides that were unimaginable the first time they walked through our doors. Being in public education felt good and right and valued. The key was the “we.” These were prevailing thoughts and sentiments – and not just of educators and school leaders. Those “we” statements were spoken by most Americans, regardless of political affiliation, income level or other differentiating factors. That unity of thought and belief meant fewer extraneous barriers for the work of teachers, principals, superintendents and school board members. But the winds have shifted. When the question “Why do you do this work?” is asked of educators and school district leaders today, it seems less of a sincere inquiry and more of a lament (or a sanity check), and for good reason. At the legislative and policy level, political extremists evoking conf lict seem intent on turning education from a civic responsibility and community investment to an ideological issue that has little to do with educating our nation’s children to the very best of our abilities. Too many of the “leaders” we have entrusted to make the best decisions for our students and communities instead are lined up behind unproven strategies like vouchers and online learning that aim to turn a profit on the backs of kids. In this climate, getting appropriate resources allo­ cated for even the most basic levels of funding for our neighborhood public schools has required a marshalling of forces – and, too often here in Arizona, a good legal team. Equally challenging, if not more so, is gaining fiscal support for new education initiatives, even those that have reached the schoolhouse door through the political and legislative process. Move on When Reading comes to mind. At the classroom level, shifting demographics, including a growing socioeconomic divide and language disparity, are presenting amplified challenges to teaching and learning that require more, not less, support.

These are amazing times for public education in America and Arizona. Standards are higher, achievement is higher, Arizona’s graduation rate is on the rise, and the U.S. graduation rate is at an all-time high. The good news is this: Poll after poll shows that Arizonans care deeply about education. The “we” that views public education as the cornerstone of communities, values teachers and has high expectations for students is alive and well today. Arizonans overwhelmingly choose our local neighborhood schools for their own children. But our voices are being drowned out and the good work of educators and school leaders is being overshadowed by those at the extremes. “We” need to take back the conversation. These are amazing times for public education in America and Arizona. Standards are higher, achievement is higher, Arizona’s graduation rate is on the rise, and the U.S. graduation rate is at an all-time high. Innovation has redefined schools and classrooms across our state. There has been an explosion of research on teaching and learning that will enable current and future schools leaders to be even more effective in serving students. Universities are turning out passionate and smart young professionals. The public wants its public schools to succeed. We believe opportunity is knocking on the door and that ASBA is positioned to be the one organization unifying many of these elements. As a microcosm of the state of education, all are represented, making ASBA the most holistic advocate for education – with the least bias and the broadest membership. So the next time someone asks you the question “Why do you do this work?” I urge you to tell them this: The rewards of service to education are profound. In fact, it is the most important work of our nation and state. In this complex political, fiscal, socioeconomic and cultural landscape, children have never needed us more – and uncommon partnerships are being formed to take on this challenge. ASBA Journal I Spring 2014 5

NEWS Nationally-known education thought-leaders to keynote ASBA Law, Annual Conferences The Arizona School Boards Association and Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College are proud to present two of the nation’s most respected and outspoken researchers and thought-leaders in education today. Scholar and educator Linda DarlingHammond will keynote the ASBA Law Conference (Sept. 3-5, Scottsdale) and public education champion and historian Diane Ravitch will keynote the ASBA-ASA Annual Conference (Dec. 11-12, Phoenix). Darling-Hammond is Charles E. Ducommun professor of education at Stanford University, where she has launched the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and the School Redesign Network and served as faculty sponsor for the Stanford Teacher Education Program. She is a former president of the American Educational Research Association and member of the National Academy of Education. Linda Darling-Hammond Her research, teaching and policy work focus on issues of school reform, teacher quality, and educational equity. Among Darling-Hammond’s more than 400 publications are The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future, winner of the 2011 Grawemeyer Award in Education. Among recent recognitions, she is the recipient of the 2011 Brock International Prize in Education and the 2009 McGraw Hill Prize for Innovation in Education. Drawing on more than 40 years of research and experience, Ravitch is one of the nation’s leading advocates on public education, a prolific writer and a renowned research professor of education at New York University. Ravitch has published more than 500 articles and reviews for scholarly and popular publications, along with managing her blog at, which has currently received more than 10 million page views in less than two years. As a seasoned speaker, she offers audiences a clear prescription for saving American public schools. In Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Diane Ravitch Schools, a New York Times bestseller, Ravitch argues that the crisis in American education is not a crisis of academic achievement, but of the destruction of public schools. The story begins where her previous book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, left off, providing a deeper argument against privatization and for public education. In her speeches, Ravitch passionately discusses better education for all and shares the hard message that every parent, teacher and community needs to support public schools, or else our society will fail all children.

Arizona board members elected to national leadership positions Two Arizona school board members were elected to leadership positions for the National Hispanic Caucus of the National School Boards Association. Jesus Rubalcava (Gila Bend USD and ASBA president elect) was elected vice chair and Lydia Hernandez (Cartwright ESD) was chosen as secretary. The caucus held its annual elections at the National School Boards Association’s 74th Annual Conference, which was held April 5-7 in New Orleans.

6 ASBA Journal I Spring 2014

Peoria USD board wins Kennedy Center, NSBA arts award The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced the Peoria Unified School District Governing Board as the recipient of the 26th annual Kennedy Center Alliance for the Arts Education Network and National School Boards Association Award. The award, which includes a $10,000 prize, was presented on April 7 at the National School Boards Association’s Annual Conference in New Orleans. From left, Peoria USD Superintendent Denton Santarelli and board Since 1989, this prestigious national award has recognized members James Kistner, Hal Borhauer, Kathy Knecht and Matt Bullock with a Kennedy Center representative (third from left). individual school boards for their outstanding support of arts education. Peoria Unified was chosen from nominees around the country for the district’s support of high-quality arts education and clear, demonstrated commitment to teaching and learning through the arts. The governing board actively promoted the district’s arts programs and established arts integration in Title 1 schools and continued to offer diverse and practical arts courses for the district’s students at every grade level despite budget cuts. The board also sought out partnerships with local, state and national arts organizations to increase arts opportunities for students. The award, which was received by governing board members Hal Borhauer, Matt Bullock, James Kistner and Kathy Knecht, and Superintendent Dr. Denton Santarelli and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Heather Cruz will be used to continue funding for effective arts education programs.

Murphy ESD board earns national honors The Murphy Elementary School District in Phoenix was a winner in the 20th annual Magna Awards program, a partnership between the National School Boards Association’s American School Board Journal and Sodexo Quality of Life Services. Magna Awards recognize school districts for outstanding programs that advance student learning and encourage community involvement in schools. The district’s recognition comes from its school board’s implementation of a program called EMPOWER - Equipping Murphy Parents with Opportunities for Wellness, Education and Responsibility – a comprehensive approach to strengthening the whole family. The program is based on the belief that for students to be successful in life, their parents must be able to The Murphy Education and Health Center makes medical and access health care and to learn strategies to help them. dental services available to students. The English as a Second Language program gives parents the opportunity to help their child academically, as do the adult literacy classes. Computer classes help parents become familiar with technology. The Murphy Education and Health Center makes medical and dental services available. Current members of the Murphy school board are Arthur Murillo, Daniel Palomino, Ellisaveth Franco, Eric Buckmaster, and Raymond Rodriguez. Murphy ESD was the only Arizona district so honored this year. Murphy Superintendent Lenora Jenkins will share information on the program with ASBA members attending the June 21 Equity and Opportunity Summit in Phoenix. The event is being hosted by ASBA’s Hispanic-Native American Indian Caucus. ASBA Journal I Spring 2014 7

Cindy Matus Morriss honored for 20 years of service on ASBA Board of Directors After two decades of service on the ASBA Board of Directors, including a term as president, Patagonia ESD Governing Board Member Cindy Matus Morriss attended her last ASBA board meeting on March 14. “It has been our privilege to call Cindy a friend and advocate, and for that we offer our deepest appreciation,” said Executive Director Dr. Tim Ogle. “She is known and respected for her impeccable integrity, passion for children and public schools, tireless commitment to her fellow school board members throughout Arizona and the nation, which she demonstrated through her long-time involvement in ASBA and the National School Boards Association.” Most recently, Matus Morriss represented the National School Boards Association Board of Directors on the ASBA board. Her term as NSBA Pacific Region Director ended in April. Matus Morriss will continue to serve the Patagonia ESD Governing Board through 2016 – and promises to continue to be a presence at ASBA events.

Cindy Matus Morriss, pictured here with ASBA Executive Director Dr. Tim Ogle, was recognized by both the ASBA Board of Directors and members of the NSBA Pacific Region for her service to both the state and national associations.

Here and There

On May 2, ASBA leaders attended the Metropolitan Education Commission 24th Annual Crystal Apple Awards in Tucson. The awards honored teachers, students and business leaders who contribute to excellence in education in Tucson and Pima County. Pictured here with 9-year-old student poster contest winner Yasmin Corrales-Baez (TUSD’s Robison Elementary), from left, are Amphitheater USD Governing Board Member Kent Barrabee with ASBA President Elaine Hall (Sahuarita USD), ASBA Executive Director Dr. Tim Ogle, Patagonia ESD Governing Board Member Cindy Matus Morriss, ASBA Hispanic-Native American Indian Caucus Chair Eva Carrillo Dong (Sunnyside USD), and ASBA President Elect Jesus Rubalcava (Gila Bend USD).

8 ASBA Journal I Spring 2014

On May 8, ASBA President Elaine Hall and Executive Director Dr. Tim Ogle were in Safford with ASBA Graham County Director James Bryce (Solomon ESD) catching up with school district leaders from Graham and Greenlee counties. In attendance were Graham County Superintendent of Schools Donna McGaughey, Greenlee County Superintendent Tom Powers, Safford USD Superintendent Dr. Mark Tregaskes, Safford Governing Board President Mike DeLaO and fellow board members Shirley Turner Chaplin and Julie Cluff, Clifton USD Governing Board Member Betty Swesey, Fort Thomas USD Governing Board Member McCoy Hawkins, Thatcher USD Governing Board Member Dalene Griffin, Solomon ESD Governing Board President Rodney Barragan and Gila Institute for Technology Governing Board Member Jim Bryce.

The Trust, ASBAIT sponsor NSBA reception for Arizona attendees The Trust and ASBAIT sponsored a reception, hosted by ASBA, for the approximately 175 Arizona public school leaders attending the NSBA 74th Annual Conference in New Orleans. Arizona public school leaders took a break from their learning experience to network with members of other ASBA member boards at the event.

ASBA welcomes DeCabooter to policy staff David DeCabooter Policy Consultant Role at ASBA: As a policy consultant my job is to assist school officials in their efforts to implement policy manuals and to keep them up-to-date. I will also be helping school officials with the transition to our upcoming web-based policy service options. Professional Experience: After receiving my undergraduate degree I attended culinary school and worked in the hospitality industry for the next five years. I returned to school to study law and subsequently earned a Master’s Degree in Information Resources and Library Science while working at the University of Arizona Law Library and completing the requirements for my Secondary Teaching Certificate in History. Prior to arriving at ASBA I worked at the Coconino County Attorney’s Office in Flagstaff. Education: I attended elementary school in the Scottsdale Unified and Madison Elementary School Districts and graduated from Brophy College Prep. I received an A.A. from Scottsdale Community College, a B.A. in English from Arizona State University, and a J.D. and M.A. from the University of Arizona. I also spent a summer abroad in Madrid, Spain, studying international law through the College of William & Mary. Birthplace: Galesburg, Illinois Favorite Books: David Herbert Donald’s Lincoln and A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving are two books that I have read more than once. My reading list tends to ref lect my hobbies. I finished So You Think You Know Baseball?: A Fan’s Guide to the Official Rules during spring training in March and Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time in May right before boarding a f light to Peru. Little Known Fact about Me: My recent trip to South America leaves Antarctica as the only continent to which I have not yet traveled. Why I Think Public Education Is Important: Both of my parents spent their careers in public education and are strong advocates for its value as a community enterprise. It sets the standard of living for every family in the U.S. and strives to provide children with the fundamental knowledge that will hopefully encourage them to become lifelong learners. I am extremely enthused to work in an environment with a focus on positive goals designed to benefit everyone equally. ASBA Journal I Spring 2014 9

Arizona School Boards Association

Equity & Opportunity Summit

Arizona school board members,

Working Together for the Arizona We Want

superintendents and other public school leaders are invited to attend this one-day event that looks at factors contributing to the gap in achievement between white and minority students, and low income and non-low income students, and explores

Get more information and register by June 16 at

successful equity-focused policies and practices aimed at closing the gap.

June 21, 2014 Black Canyon Conference Center, Phoenix HOSTED BY THE HISPANIC-NATIVE AMERICAN INDIAN CAUCUS 10 ASBA Journal I Spring 2014

ASBA Calendar of Events May 2014 26 Memorial Day ASBA Office Closed June 2014 6

ASBA Legislative Committee Meeting Phoenix

21 ASBA Equity and Opportunity Summit: Working Together for the Arizona We Want Phoenix July 2014 4

Independence Day ASBA Office Closed

24 ASBA Board of Directors Meeting Flagstaff 24-26 ASBA Summer Leadership Institute Flagstaff

October 2014 1 ASBA Greenlee/Graham County Meeting To Be Determined 2

ASBA Gila County Meeting To Be Determined


ASBA Apache County Meeting To Be Determined


ASBA Navajo County Meeting To Be Determined


ASBA Coconino County Meeting To Be Determined

13 Columbus Day ASBA Office Closed

September 2014


ASBA Mohave County Meeting Kingman USD

1 Labor Day ASBA Office Closed


ASBA La Paz County Meeting To Be Determined


ASBA Yuma County Meeting Crane ESD


ASBA Maricopa County Meeting To Be Determined


ASBA Pinal County Meeting To Be Determined


ASBA Yavapai County Meeting To Be Determined

3-5 ASBA Law Conference Scottsdale 5 ASBA Board of Directors Meeting Scottsdale 6 ASBA Delegate Assembly Scottsdale 13 School Board Appreciation Night at the Ballpark Phoenix 23 ASBA Cochise County Meeting Willcox USD, Willcox 24 ASBA Santa Cruz County Meeting Santa Cruz USD 30 ASBA Pima County Meeting Tanque Verde USD, Tucson

ASBA Journal I Spring 2014 11









12 ASBA Journal12I Spring 2014









National School Boards Association

Annual Conference

in Pictures 1 This year’s NSBA Annual Conference was held in New Orleans from April 5-7. 5

2 NSBA kicked off its Stand Up 4 Public Schools campaign and announced Earvin “Magic” Johnson as a spokesman. 3 Long-time and highly respected Arizona school attorney A. Dean Pickett (right) received the Council of School

Attorneys Distinguished Service Award. 4 Student dancers from Sahuarita USD’s Waldon Grove High School performed at the ASBA reception and the

National Hispanic Caucus breakfast. 5 Elizabeth Sanchez, vice chair of the National Hispanic Caucus and an Alhambra ESD board member, and Caucus

Chair Guillermo Lopez (right) presented the Abrazo Award to former NSBA President Earl Rickman at the caucus breakfast. 6 Arizona school leaders, including Vail USD Superintendent Calvin Baker (center), presented at the conference. 8

7 Dysart USD Superintendent Dr. Gail Pletnick (standing) also presented at the conference. 8 The event attracted dozens of Arizona school administrators, including (from left) Palominas ESD Superintendent

Dr. Steve Poling and Dysart USD Associate Superintendent Dr. Cyndi Miller. 9 Kyrene Governing Board Member Beth Brizel (front left) was one of the more than 175 Arizona school leaders who

attended the conference. 10 Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) leaders, including Roosevelt ESD Governing Board Member Norma

Munoz (front row, second from left), gathered. 11 San Carlos USD Governing Board Member Robert Cassa spoke as secretary-treasurer of the NSBA American

Indian/Alaska Native Caucus. 11

12 AIAN Caucus Pacific Region Director Katrina Talkalai, a member of the San Carlos USD Governing Board, also

addressed caucus members. 13 Sara Mae Williams, AIAN president elect and a member of the Baboquivari USD Governing Board, joined in at the

caucus luncheon. 14 Chandler USD Governing Board Member David Evans (third from left) was among the attendees at the NSBA Black

Caucus Luncheon. 15 Attendees, including Patagonia ESD Governing Board Member Cindy Matus Morriss (fourth from right), enjoyed

keynote speakers during the conference’s general sessions. 16 Author and columnist Thomas Friedman was among the keynoters. 14

ASBA Journal I Spring 2014 13

14 ASBA Journal I Spring 2014

l Education and the Law By Chris Thomas, ASBA General Counsel and Director of Legal and Policy Services

Getting On, Staying On and Getting Off a School Board


his edition of “Education and the Law” deals with the timely topic of school board service, including how one gets on a school board, how one stays on a school board and how one might leave – voluntarily or involuntarily – a school board. Q. In a nutshell, what are the qualifications for being on a school board? A. According to statute, you must be a registered voter of Arizona and have been a resident of the school district in which you seek board membership for a period of at least one year prior to the date of the election (A.R.S. §15-421C). In addition, you cannot be an employee of the district, nor have a spouse who is an employee of the district, and serve simultaneously on the governing board. Finally, you cannot be a candidate or serve as a board member alongside an immediate family member with whom you have shared a residence during the past four years if you are serving on a five-member board. Q. If you are appointed for a seat, must you still meet the same qualifications as if you sat for election? A. Yes. Q. The county superintendent in my county uses a process for filling vacancies that is very different from another county that I know of – is this OK? A.  Yes. County superintendents have the power to fill vacancies under Arizona statute (A.R.S. §15-302). In that authority, governing boards are allowed to submit up to three names for consideration by the county superintendent to use in making the appointment – though the county superintendent is not bound to appoint one of those three people. Basically, county superintendents are free to utilize whatever process that they want to employ and fill the spot with whomever they choose. Remember, though, that the appointment is only “until the next regular election for governing board members, at which time a successor shall be elected to serve the unexpired portion of the term” (A.R.S. §15-302).

Q. If there are three people running and there are only three seats open, does the election have to be held? A. No. Under that scenario, the county board of super­ visors can cancel the election and the individuals who were running can be deemed elected. The board of supervisors can only do this no earlier than 75 days prior to the election and only if no write-in candidates have filed to make the race competitive. If the board of supervisors does cancel the election, the appointed board members have all of the powers of board members as if they had been elected. Q. We had an election and one of the board members who “won” dropped out of the race prior to the election but after the ballots had been printed. Does the person who received the next highest number of votes automatically win? A. No. The seat is deemed vacant and the county super­ intendent can move to fill the vacancy. She or he is not bound to appoint the person receiving the next highest number of votes. Q. W hat if a board member has moved away from the district? Do they automatically lose eligibility to serve on the board? A. No. In order for the board member to maintain eligibility, he or she must maintain voter eligibility within the district. Voting eligibility hinges on valid voter regis­ tration which, of course, hinges on maintaining residency within the jurisdiction. It gets tricky because of the the definition of “resident” found in Arizona statute: “‘Resident’ means an individual who has actual physical presence… in the political subdivision, combined with an intent to remain. A temporary absence does not result in a loss of residence if the individual has an intent to return following his absence. An individual has only one residence for purposes of this title” (A.R.S. §16101). So a temporary absence does not constitute loss of residency; the individual can live somewhere else so long as 1) there is an intent to return and 2) they do not claim residency anywhere else. ASBA Journal I Spring 2014 15

Q. We have heard that if a board member misses three consecutive months of meetings that the board member automatically has vacated the seat and the county superintendent must fill the vacancy. Is this true? A. It depends on the facts. It is true that a board member who ceases “to discharge the duties of office for the period of three consecutive months” has left that office vacant and that no further action is needed for the vacancy to be determined (A.R.S. §38-291, AGO I89-075). However, there is an issue as to whether just missing three months of meetings is “failure to discharge the duties of office.” Surely, attending meetings and voting on items is a huge part of a board member’s legal authority. It may, in fact, be the only time the board member has legal authority (see AGO I81-054). However, an earlier Attorney General Opinion states that “failure to attend meetings or do anything in regard to the office” would constitute a failure to discharge the duties of the office” (AGO 77-24). Based on the emphasized phrase above, it has been debated among school lawyers whether a vacancy occurs if the board member misses three months of meetings but does other things board members may do – such as attend school functions, sign warrants or meet with the superintendent. Complicating matters even more is whether the county superintendent actually

has to declare a vacancy and move to fill it or whether the vacancy exists without that. The 1989 Attorney General Opinion mentioned above suggests that if three months of consecutive meetings are missed, the office is, ipso facto, vacant. But that still supposes someone has to DO something about that. In other words, if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Q. A board member, after a heated board meeting, declares that he quits and leaves the meeting. Is the board seat now vacant? A. No. The board member must file the resignation with the Secretary of State in order for the resignation to be effective (A.R.S. §38-294). Q. I am on the board now, but I am ready for my board service to end at the end of my term. If there aren’t enough people to run for the board do I have to stay? A. There are plenty of great retiring board members who we would love to rope into school board service for life using such a loophole. Alas, one does not exist. If your term expires and there is no one there to replace you, the office is deemed vacant and the county superintendent can appoint a new member. Of course, if you are that good, don’t be surprised if you get a call!

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16 ASBA Journal I Spring 2014

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School boards are under increasing scrutiny by a public that demands high levels of board continuity and effectiveness. At the same time, media reports of “boards behaving badly” have raised questions over whether locally elected school board members are qualified to fulfill their role. Learn from Dr. Alsbury, deemed the top expert in school governance by the Associated Press, about how to apply the latest research so that you can be more effective and avoid the typical political challenges faced by most board members. The session also will allow you to discuss and apply tools to boost your own and your board’s effectiveness in improving student learning in your district.


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mini-TOWN HALL Tara Jackson Executive Director, Arizona Town Hall Dr. Pamela Powell Chair of Teaching and Learning, NAU College of Education Board of Directors, First Things First Jeremy Goodman Attorney and Passionate Town Hall Supporter

Early Education in Arizona

In November 2013, more than 170 Arizonans delved into the topic of early childhood education during a two-day intensive Arizona Town Hall convening. Their overwhelming conclusion: More resources are needed. In the first part of this program, Jackson and Powell will present an overview of key findings and recommendations from last fall’s event, as well as trends in subsequent mini-Town Halls around the state. Following will be a mini-Town Hall discussion among all attendees facilitated by Jackson and Goodman and focused on priorities and action steps for achieving quality early education in Arizona.


Breakout sessions on policy, education, leadership and governance that you won’t want to miss.

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l leadership matters Karen Loftus, ASBA Director of Leadership Development

Preparing College Hires and What that Means for Us


he Aberdeen Group is a well known organization that conducts thousands of research studies a year focusing on helping business leaders improve their performance. In an October 2013 study, the organization found that 63 percent of organizations report at least some additional coaching and training is needed to get their new college hires up to speed. Further, the study found the most commonly cited skill or capability gap (cited by 53 percent of all respondents) was a lack of critical thinking skills. Other areas college hires need assistance with include writing, presentation skills, general business acumen, time management, personal leadership ability, and industry/ domain expertise. From a K-12 education perspective, I got thinking about the implications of these findings for our own “industry.” A few aspects of the need for coaching and/or training come to mind:



We often hire teachers and other staff who are recent » 

college graduates. Are we providing adequate if not superior coaching/training to these staff members?  » We may well have recent college graduates who are interested in running for a seat on their local governing board. If elected, how is each governing board assuring that the new board member gets trained so he or she can become a highly effective board member? Our districts are feeding the students into these colleges »  and universities. How are we preparing our students to master these (critical thinking) skills before they graduate from high school?  » As leaders in your district, governing board members and school administrators together model the knowledge, skills and abilities they desire to see developed in staff and students. How well is that modeling occurring today and what personal development plans are being created and implemented to build accountability for this type of professional learning?


Recent College Graduates Need Some Support Personal leadership ability Critical thinking Industry/domain expertise General business acumen

18 ASBA Journal I Spring 2014

As director of leadership development for ASBA, I come in contact with so many districts that have their pulse on these very items. It’s gratifying to work alongside a board that collectively understands and acts in line with their number-one focus of student achievement. But what if things don’t work that way on your board? Does it happen? Sure! Does it have to remain that way? No. ASBA is here to support your district in all avenues of developing a strong leadership team. We do that in a variety of ways, but ultimately it begins in the same manner. Typically, the board president or superintendent calls or emails me with a question, request or concern. As we converse, I’m learning the unique nature of the issue and gauging if it’s a training issue, a getting-people-onthe-same-page issue, a systemic issue that has a lot of layers to uncover, or some other variation on the theme. My point is that not everything is a “training” issue. Hold on! Before you call me a heretic, let me explain. The need for training implies that an individual or group does not have the knowledge, skills or abilities to do something. The two questions then become: 1) Is there agreement of the need to learn whatever it is? 2) If there is a need, what is the appropriate vehicle or tool to use?

In an October 2013 study, the organization found that 63 percent of organizations report at least some additional coaching and training is needed to get their new college hires up to speed.

Many times your district policy provides the answer to your question. Sometimes a job aid (a document that lists the steps in a process) will work. Other times it’s about the dialogue that’s needed to get everyone on the same page and in agreement on how to handle a situation that might arise. I have found time and time again that facilitating work sessions like these are so critical and so helpful as board members strive to maximize their productivity and effectively lead their district in higher levels of student achievement. The power is in the dialogue. Is it time to start yet?

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ASBA Journal I Spring 2014 19

l Capitol View By Janice Palmer, ASBA Director of Governmental Relations & Public Affairs

Progress Report: ASBA’s 2014 Political Agenda


his year, ASBA reinvigorated its Political Agenda and Delegate Assembly process to create a more focused and relevant document. While core values, voting rights and collective board input remained constant, the document’s organization became time-based to put greater emphasis on action and accountability. The Political Agenda is set forth in this way: Long-Term Focus – These overarching issues must »  be addressed for public schools to excel and provide an opportunity for every child to succeed. We will concentrate on these over the next 5-10 years.  » Short-Term Focus – Building toward our long-term areas of success, these items represent critical needs to put us on that path, and will engage our energies over the next 3-5 years. Legislative Session-Specific – Building toward our »  long-term areas of success, these items ref lect issues that will not only move us forward, but we believe can be accomplished in the coming year given the legislative atmosphere and current public trends.

How We Fared in 2014 The Legislature completed its 101-day session, with sine die on Thursday, April 24 at 1:46 a.m. As we now begin preparing for the 2015 Legislative Session, it is prudent to look back at ASBA’s efforts and see areas of accomplishment and areas in which opportunities still exist. As we do so, it is important to note that implementation of ASBA’s Political Agenda requires a multifaceted public affairs strategy in which our governmental relations, legal and communications departments play crucial and cross-functional roles.

Long-Term Focus In the long-term, the 2014 ASBA Political Agenda identified three items of focus: 1. Revise the school finance formula to adequately fund schools. a. Structurally change the tax structure to assure a more stable and reliable source. b. Maximize local school district f lexibility in managing these funds. 20 ASBA Journal I Spring 2014

c. Require the same accountability measures of all schools and individuals that receive public funds. d. Repeal any program that gives public monies to private schools. e. Include dedicated funding to education.

ASBA is actively engaged in conversations with 2014 gubernatorial candidates, various entities, including the Arizona Charter Schools Association, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Arizona Business and Education and Coalition, and others on the need to ensure our public schools are adequately funded. Outreach has also been extended to the business community to look at statutory revenue and tax restrictions that hinder the Legislature’s ability to budget and invest. ASBA also led the effort, which ultimately proved unsuccessful, to litigate Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. At the same time, ASBA was able to legislatively defeat efforts in both the House and Senate to dramatically expand ESAs. Intensive grassroots and media relations efforts by ASBA added public pressure in opposition to ESAs, contributing to this defeat. 2. Uphold preservation of local control to reinforce the connection between the community and its elected governing board members. ASBA was successful in defeating or amending nearly every bill that mandated action. Those that moved forward were moved from mandatory to voluntary actions. 3. Meet the unique educational needs of every student so that every student has the opportunity to reach his/her full potential. Efforts around items one and two augmented efforts related to this item. Here, ASBA worked with other groups to support district-sponsored charter schools and increase JTED funding, while at the same time, striving to ensure all students are able to successfully achieve Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards.

Short-Term Focus

This was not an item of focus this legislative session.

In the short-term, the 2014 ASBA Political Agenda identified five items of focus:

5. Create greater f lexibility with mandated graduation requirements.

1. Fund voluntary, full-day kindergarten and include kindergarten students in the override calculation.

This was a key advocacy focus area, in which an online petition was generated to build grassroots support into the future. In addition, ASBA continues to work with other advocacy groups and First Things First to build the data and research needed to demonstrate the importance of restoring state funding of full-day kindergarten. A special editorial section in the Summer 2013 edition of the ASBA Journal drew additional attention to the issue and has been reproduced and distributed by numerous partner organizations in support of this item.

In fact, this was one of ASBA’s most successful sessions for defeating and/or minimizing negative legislation.

Focus centered on math core competencies, in which ASBA worked with the State Board of Education to provide f lexibility for Career and Technical Education credits. Further, work continues to allow for greater school board authority in determining curriculum requirements, including the support of legislation that allows computer science courses to count as math core competency.

2014 Session-Specific Focus For the 2014 Legislative Session, the ASBA Political Agenda identified five items of focus:

ASBA partnered with the Arizona Association of School Business Officials in soliciting input for administrative burdens that could be reduced. Unfortunately, few items were submitted and, those that were, had a federal mandated requirement associated with them. Efforts will continue to streamline administrative burdens through legislative and regulatory means.

2. Restore capital funding to funding formula allocations.

A step back was taken with the removal of the building renewal formula from statutes. Further, the soft capital and CORL formulas were rolled into the new “district additional assistance formula” that institutionalized cuts to both soft capital and CORL.

3. Fund inf lation fully in the baseline to uphold the voters’ mandate.

ASBA, with partner organizations, successfully litigated that the Legislature did not uphold the voters’ mandate to fully fund inf lation. As a result, inf lationary funding in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget was successfully accomplished across the board. However, funding was calculated on a base support level from FY10 rather than one that takes upward adjustments that should have been made annually between FY11 and FY13. Current litigation seeks to provide a specific legal remedy for that discrepancy.

4. Allow public school tax credits to be used as determined by local districts.

1. Advocate for an Administrative Reduction Omnibus to lessen unfunded mandates and administrative burdens.

2. Restore Building Renewal funding to ensure school facilities are adequately maintained.

This item took a step back legislatively with the elimination of the formula in statute. ASBA and AASBO partnered on a school facilities survey to school districts that solicited information on what current needs are to better provide data in our advocacy efforts, as well as possible litigation.

3. Change “override” language to “local support” to better ref lect what voters are being asked to support.

Legislation was introduced by Sen. David Bradley (D-10); however, it did not receive a hearing. Further, our efforts pivoted with the introduction of numerous bills to curtail current bond and override efforts and make these more difficult to pass. All of these items were either amended favorably or defeated.

4. Advocate for school safety funds to create a safe learning environment.

Additional school safety funds were appropriated in the FY14 budget, and State Board efforts continue for the school safety pilot program.

ASBA Journal I Spring 2014 21

amount and 95.5 percent of the formula for all other JTEDS.

5. Allow school districts greater f lexibility in the divestiture of property to address population and course needs.

This item became encumbered in a larger debate about vacant and under-capacity school facilities. There is promise for this issue to be addressed over the interim and into the 2015 legislative session.

ASBA partnered most closely with the Education Finance Reform Group, Arizona School Administrators and AASBO to minimize efforts to abolish the ability of districts to sponsor charter schools. Numerous hours of work were contributed for the budget and statutory provisions provided.

6. Maximize trust land income for teachers’ salaries and student classroom opportunities.

ASBA worked with the State Land Commissioner on opportunities to maximize current holdings, either through sale or lease, as well as beneficiary support for negative proposals that would undermine the trust. Staff also met with various stakeholders on a proposed trust land reform measure that did not come to fruition, as well as federal stakeholders on possible initiatives to increase trust land revenues.

10. F  und the implementation costs of Arizona’s new standards, assessments, and technology.

ASBA partnered with various education and business grassroots advocates, coordinated with lobbyists, and collaborated with other members of the statewide Arizona College and Career Ready Standards Task Force to defeat a number of anti-Common Core pieces of legislation, as well as to assist with increased assessment funding. In addition, we participated in broadband connectivity discussions and technological need meetings.

7. Allow districts the option to operate individual schools for 200-day school years and increase funding from 5% to 8% to improve student achievement.

A Defensive Success

ASBA supported two measures that would have allowed for districts that choose to go to a 200-day district-wide calendar to receive increased monies, as well as legislation that would allow individual D and F schools to go to a 200day calendar and receive additional funding; however, both did not successfully make it through the process.

9. P  rotect the right of districts to charter schools for innovation.

Success can be measured a number of ways. This year, few opportunities for offensive action were available. Aggressive defensive of our core values and items specified in the Political Agenda, however, resulted in a number of significant wins for public education and local control. In fact, this was one of ASBA’s most successful sessions for defeating and/or minimizing negative legislation. This upcoming election season offers public school leaders the opportunity to hold our current legislators accountable with either positive or negative feedback, as well as the opportunity to more actively engage with legislative candidates on their position on public education. It is much easier to persuade legislators on your issues when they believe in those issues from the start.

8. Restore 9th grade funding for CTE/JTEDs so that students have the opportunity to be exposed to career fields and/or certification completion.

While this restoration was not successful, ASBA supported JTED lobbyists in efforts to move funding for JTEDS with 2,000 students or less to the full formula

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ASBA Journal I Spring 2014 23

Arizona’s source for education news

JOIN US IN SHARING THE NEWS ABOUT EDUCATION IN ARIZONA! As an ASBA member, you receive the Arizona Education News Service e-weekly every Tuesday. But we know there are many others across the state who would benefit from this type of accurate news and information about K-12 education in our state.

3 easy ways you can help:

> Encourage parents, teachers and other staff in your school community to subscribe

@ > Forward your copy of AZEdNews e-weekly to those in your personal and professional networks and encourage them to subscribe. > Join us on Facebook and Twitter.

24 ASBA Journal I Spring 2014

l profile in leadership ASBA is pleased to feature recipients of the All-Arizona School Board Award in the Profile in Leadership column, which appears in every issue of the ASBA Journal.

Mari Alvarado A l h am b r a E l eme n ta r y S c h o o l D i s t r i c t

What governing board do you serve on? Alhambra Elementary School District in Phoenix. What is your hometown? Yuma. How long have you been a board member? I was first elected in 2006 and my term expires Dec. 31, 2016. I have been a board member for nearly seven-anda-half years. What books do you have at your bedside? I keep faith-based literature, a variety of Latino and educational journals, Let Their Spirits Dance (Stella Pope Duarte), Freedom Writers (Erin Gruwell) and, just recently added, The World is Flat (Thomas Friedman). I also keep children’s books at my bedside. What/who inspires you? Children, American heroes like Cesar E. Chavez, poets like Maya Angelou, writers like Stella Pope Duarte and teachers like Erin Gruwell. My family also inspires me. What is your motto as a board member? I believe all children will learn when effective instruction is delivered by caring individuals who teach to positively impact the lives of children every day. What is your pie-in-the-sky vision for education? All students will achieve their American Dream, obtain economic success, and positively impact the success of others.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as a board member? I felt we needed to recognize outstanding students in our district. Thus, Superintendent Dr. Karen Williams, through the “Superintendent’s High Five,” recognizes a student in each grade level for meeting the five pillars, which are academic excellence, exemplary character, excellent attendance, committing to learning beyond the classroom and working collaboratively with others. This is a fun event and an evening of pride for the students, their parents, families, teachers, principals and those who support our children. What is your primary pet peeve as a board member? Distracters that take our focus off children are my primary pet peeve. What is the reason you like being an ASBA member? Collegiality is a primary reason for being an ASBA member. We get to know board members from other districts. I have the opportunity to hear ideas that allow me to help children in my district and, in turn, I share ideas that might help their children. What would you like your epitaph to say? Because I serve God’s purpose, I hope to be remembered for my good works, so I would like it to say, “Mari Alvarado. God, Family and Community. Always in Our Hearts.”

What is your advice to new board members? Potential board members must self-ref lect their motivation for running for the position. My advice to them is to read as much as they can about the duties and responsibilities of the position. The Arizona School Boards Association has numerous publications, workshops and seminars available to members. Most importantly, serve the best interest of children.

ASBA Journal I Spring 2014 25

Are Arizona Students Prepared to Succeed? .

As a local school board member, you play an important role in supporting your teachers and administrators in their work to implement Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards and a new, high-quality test to replace AIMS. 9LVLWWKH$UL]RQD$LPV+LJKHUZHEVLWHWRðQGPRUHLQIRUPDWLRQ DERXWWKHVWDQGDUGVDQGWRVLJQWKHSOHGJHWR$LP+LJKHU 26 ASBA Journal I Spring 2014

CLOSING THE GAP Regional center targets educational equity issues B y D o n Ha r r is , C o n t r ib u t i n g W r i t e r


ou don’t have to look far to find an Arizona school district that has dealt with or is addressing the pervasive issue of achievement gap. Students of color are most likely to be the ones who lag behind white classmates academically, and this educational phenomenon has been plaguing school officials and parents for decades. Viewed through another lens, data also show gaps in achievement between students from low-income families and non-low income families. Experts at the Region IX Equity Assistance Center at WestEd, which receives funding from the U.S. Department of Education to provide technical assistance and training in educational equity issues to school districts in Arizona, California and Nevada, say the issue is evidenced throughout the region, and, indeed, in school districts across the country. Lenay Dunn, Ph.D., is a Phoenix-based senior research associate at WestEd and member of the Region IX EAC team. She says concerns about the achievement gap are everywhere. Dunn says, “The truth is all districts are grappling with equity issues,” Dunn says. “Everyone is facing the achievement gap that can be racially defined by students with deficiencies.” To preserve positive client relationships and because most of the work the organization does addresses sensitive issues related to equity, EAC doesn’t publicly identify schools or districts that seek assistance, unless permission is granted in advance. Region IX is one of 10 Equity Assistance Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education and originally authorized by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EAC focuses on issues related to eliminating dis­crim­ination

that leads to disproportions in special education, gifted programs and in discipline. The requests that EAC receives address several issues, including reducing dropout rates, reducing/eliminating bullying and harassment, im­proving attendance as a key way to reduce dropout rates, and improving the engagement of families from diverse backgrounds. The goal is to close achievement gaps for under­served and underrepresented students. Rose Owens-West, Ph.D., director of the Region IX EAC, which has its headquarters in Oakland, Calif., is proud of the program’s role and results. “We are not a No Child Left Behind program,” she says. “We were created to help school districts and state departments of education to address equity issues and ensure the civil rights of students, particularly around the issues of race, gender and national origin. We are not mandated to work with anyone. We work in response to requests. We can help district schools or other clients with things like improving special ed programs so there is no disproportionality by race.” Examples of gaps may extend to discipline and students not participating in rigorous coursework. (See page 33 for other examples of ways in which inequity may enter public education.) A current hot topic, she says, is disproportionate discipline – students who are unfairly disciplined with suspensions and expulsions on the basis of race or gender. Nationally, African American and Latino boys are disproportionately disciplined. Moon Valley High School chemistry teacher Sue Wilhelm asks students a question about molarity during a Panasonic Foundation tour to learn how the school enrolls so many students, especially minority students, in Advanced Placement classes.

ASBA Journal I Spring 2014 27

Arizona faces many challenges with regard to equity and ensuring high achievement for all students. Dunn explains: “The persistent achievement gap between white students and underserved minorities, including Hispanic, African American and Native American students, is one of Arizona’s biggest challenges.” Other Arizona issues include high dropout rates, over­ representation in special education, and lower college degree attainment for underserved minorities, plus disproportionate discipline and access to rigorous coursework. “We have worked in California, Nevada and Arizona to help highlight and address these achievement gaps,” Dunn says. “The issues that contribute to these achievement gaps must be examined within the unique context of the schools and districts – a process the Region IX EAC undertakes collab­ oratively with our clients. Through this process of an equity inquiry, we use an equity lens to examine resources, programs, achievement and/or school climate to help districts and schools ensure that systems, policies, procedures and practices provide fair and equitable benefits for each learner regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, national origin, language, economic level or disability.” The gaps are well documented in a 2013 report, “Arizona Minority Student Progress Report,” from the Arizona Minority Education Policy Analysis Center. For example, the report notes that Arizona’s Hispanic population comprises the majority of Arizona’s minority population growth and that the gaps in educational outcomes exist between Hispanics, blacks and American Indians and those of whites and Asian Pacific American students. Furthermore, the report states: “The shifting demographic profile of

Arizona’s growth populations toward a majority that is minority has already occurred in lower grades and amplifies the implications and consequences of allowing such gaps to continue for individuals, communities and our state.” The report recommends developing the cultural competency of teachers so they are prepared to educate all students, including the preparation and hiring of teachers who have a better understanding of how English Language Learner students learn and how to meet their needs. “Continued emphasis must be placed on providing ELL services that ensure students’ proficiency,” the report states. Dunn says Arizona has had a persistent achievement gap for a long time. “In Arizona, we have a smaller African American population and a large Hispanic/Latino and Native American student population,” she says. “We have seen high dropout rates and lower college attainment rates for underserved minorities. We want to make sure there is access to rigorous coursework” Owens-West says the EAC encourages districts and state departments of education to gather and carefully examine data about the students they serve and their programs. “We work with our clients to look at a number of indicators from multiple sources,” she says. “One of the most important sources of data for examining issues of equity is the Civil Rights Database compiled by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (” At Glendale Union High School District, which will host an EAC Equity Exchange in September, Superintendent Gene Dudo says the district has been data-driven for more than 30 years. “Student results have always been a part of our research and our analysis of what we have done, with Asian Pacific Americans and whites were much more likely than students from other groups to score meets or exceeds on AIMS math and reading tests.

28 ASBA Journal I Spring 2014

Arizona’s high school graduation rate rose to 76 percent in 2012, approaching the nation’s graduation rate, which is at an all-time high of 80 percent. Asian/Pacific Islanders, whites, multiracial and non-low income Arizona students were the only groups identified by the GradNation report to exceed the state average in 2012. Asian/ Pacific Islanders and whites were the only Arizona student groups to exceed the national average.

a focus on the achievement gap and other related issues,” Dudo says. “Our core values, I like to stress, are that all students can learn. We hold high expectations for everyone and that teachers make the difference.” The data-driven philosophy emphasizing continuous improvement carries over into summer when teachers, administrators and governing board members get together to analyze hundreds of pages of data to see how students have done. “They work as a team to make it better,” Dudo says. “If it doesn’t appear that progress is made, we ask ourselves what are we doing to address those issues.” GUHSD Governing Board President Patty Kennedy says, “You don’t just collect data, you have to use it, and we use it.” The review gets down to such things as whether a question was poorly phrased if too many students didn’t answer correctly, she says. According to the College Board, a not-for-profit organization that promotes excellence and equity in education, GUHSD was recognized as the national AP (Advanced Placement) district of the year for 2013. Based on the board’s research during three preceding school years, 15 percent more GUHSD students took AP exams and grades increased by about 14 percent. “To summarize, at the same time we were increasing access to AP courses, the percentage of students earning a 3 or higher increased,” Dudo says. “That’s an extremely difficult achievement to have made.” In addition, GUHSD was ranked above state averages by U.S. News and World Report, Dudo says.

Dudo doesn’t single out a specific ethnic group as being at the low end of the achievement gap. “What we see,” he says, “is that poverty makes the biggest difference. Students of lower social economic status tend to have more challenges and tend to lack opportunities. For example, summer learning may be available at a cost, and at times families tutor their students if they have resources to afford that. The biggest factor is poverty.” Other factors involve language deficiencies and transient families. To demonstrate Glendale’s commitment to reducing the achievement gap, the governing board decided to pay the student fee for taking an Advanced Placement test. Every Glendale student who takes an AP course is required to take the test, something that is voluntary in other districts. Kennedy emphasized the importance of the board’s decision. “When a district doesn’t pay for the test fee and taking the test is an option, that limits kids from a socioeconomic point of view. Some families can’t afford that. Some students take four or five AP courses at a time. That would be a real barrier to some of our students.” The student fee per test is $95. Dudo estimates that the district spends about $160,000 a year on test fees. “It’s a big commitment on the part of the board,” Kennedy says. “We want that opportunity for every student who goes into an AP class to be able to take that test. Even if they don’t pass, they have the experience of taking it. They have still gone through a college-level AP class. If they have to take it again, they will be way more prepared.” The September EAC Equity Exchange at GUHSD ASBA Journal I Spring 2014 29

In 2011-12, Hispanic and White students represented nearly equal proportions of the school-age population. Overall, minority students represented a great proportion of the school-age population (57.2 percent) than white students (42.8 percent).

is focused on highlighting a district that had success with Advanced Placement, Dunn says. The upcoming event will enable GUHSD to share some of the strategies that it has used to increase the participation in and passage of underserved minorities in Advanced Placement programs. Owens-West says there is no single cause for the achievement gap. She cites a lack of resources and access to high-quality teachers. Conditions vary by zip code. “Students don’t always have access to the most qualified, experienced or effective teachers,” she says. “They might not have access to the same resources, such as libraries and current technology. That’s one set of issues. We have issues with teachers not being prepared to teach students who come with a variety of ability levels and school experience. Resources in the community and teacher and administration preparation can be big factors.” So with all the attention on reducing the achievement gap, is the gap getting smaller? Owens-West says, “With so many districts working so hard over the past few years, and with school reform, you may find that everyone’s test scores are improving, but the gap remains. At times it may appear to narrow, but for all intents and purposes it remains largely unchanged.” Owens-West addresses how Common Core – known as Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards – could impact the achievement gap. “Common Core is probably one of the more important nationwide efforts in education we’ve seen in recent history,” she says. “It’s groundbreaking territory, in that so many states come together to implement these standards. It’s absolutely the right way to go to prepare students through high school for college or a career.” 30 ASBA Journal I Spring 2014

Owens-West pauses and adds: “However, having said that, without some specific attention to the needs of students who have not been doing well as reflected in achievement gaps, without specifically making an effort to achieve that, there is a great potential for Common Core to further widen the gap, to prolong the achievement gap. We have to prepare teachers for all students – students who have not done well, students of color, students with disabilities. There are large categories of students who tend to be lower than their peers. We have got to prepare teachers to work more effectively with those students, to provide support for those students so they can succeed. Common Core is right, but if we don’t attend to supporting teachers and students so they can succeed, we don’t think that the Common Core will close the achievement gap.” Dudo’s advice to governing board members on how to reduce the achievement gap: “Our district, like all districts, is faced with the challenge of preparing all students to be college and career ready. We try to make our core values a central part of every decision we make. We have high expec­ tations for everyone and we know that teachers make the difference. Those are important values we carry into every decision we make, that the board makes, as we consider what’s best for students at Glendale Union. At the same time, we have to make sure that our curriculum is aligned with state standards, and whatever assistance the state is going to provide to the school district. It needs to be systemic – everybody in the organization needs a common focus on what we are doing through our core values.”

educational y t i u q e Considerations for School Boards


chool boards are considered key to a comprehensive approach to addressing equity issues. “Boards hold important policy and accountability responsibilities,” says Lenay Dunn, senior research associate with the Region IX Equity Assistance Center at WestEd. “While policy does not dictate actions, it provides guidance and can set clear expectations to shape equitable school environments. Boards can provide a long-term vision for the district with clear goals and targets that ref lect community needs. “Further, they hold an important monitoring role to help track progress against those goals. Boards can take an active role in identifying and addressing equity issues by working with district leaders to examine data related to key equity indicators, and they can discuss strategies that will help the district improve its outcomes for all students. Boards can also help ensure equitable access and distribution of resources such as access to highly qualified, effective teachers.” Rose Owens-West, director the Region IX EAC, says a contributing factor for dealing with the achievement gap is that school boards have the responsibility to oversee the distribution of resources. In addition, a lot of districts have policies that need to be updated to ref lect what is known about best practices. “Clearly, school boards set and design policies that affect program participation,” Owens-West says. “It is an area in their purview.” Owens-West and Dunn agree that school boards need to create a sense that data should drive decisions. The purpose for having districts examine data is to determine whether there are achievement gaps for any student population, the causes for those gaps, whether all students have access to programs and opportunities to excel, or other inequities. They emphasize that achievement and demographic data, program data and data about resources, including funding allocations and data about human resources, are included in the data that districts should examine. – By Don Harris, Contributing Writer

ASBA Journal I Spring 2014 31

Save the Date ASBA County Meetings Please plan to join ASBA staff and members of our board of directors in your area this fall at your annual ASBA County Meeting. See page 11 for the date of your meeting.

A complete list of locations will be available soon. Call us a 602.254.1100 Questions? or 800.238.4701

32 ASBA Journal I Spring 2014

A Board Member r e m i r P Identifying Inequity

This overview is re-printed with permission from the Glossary of Education Reform (, a service of the Great Schools Partnership and produced in collaboration with the Education Writers Association and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. The website was created to help community members, parents and journalists better understand some of the major school improvement strategies being discussed by educators, researchers and policymakers.


n education, the term equity refers to the principle of fairness. While it is often used interchangeably with the related principle of equality, equity encompasses a wide variety of educational models, programs and strategies that may be considered fair, but not necessarily equal. It is has been said that “equity is the process; equality is the outcome,” given that equity – what is fair and just – may not, in the process of educating students, reflect strict equality – what is applied, allocated or distributed equally. Inequities occur as when biased or unfair policies, programs, practices or situations contribute to a lack of equality in educational performance, results and outcomes. For example, certain students or groups of students may attend school, graduate or enroll in postsecondary education at lower rates, or they may perform comparatively poorly on standardized tests due to a wide variety of factors, including inherent biases or flaws in test designs. The following are a few representative ways in which inequity may enter public education:

Societal inequity Minority students may be disadvantaged by preexisting bias and prejudice in American society, with both conscious and unconscious discrimination surfacing in public schools in ways that adversely affect learning acquisition, academic achievement, educational aspirations and post-graduation op­por­tunities. While not always the case, inequity in ed­u­­­ ca­tion is most commonly associated with groups that have suffered from discrimination related to their race, ethnicity, nationality, language, religion, class, gender, sexual orien­ tation, or disabilities.

Socioeconomic inequity Evidence suggests that students from lower-income households, on average, underperform academically in relation to their wealthier peers, and they also tend to have lower educational aspirations and enroll in college at lower rates (in part due to financial considerations). In addition, schools in poorer communities, such as those in rural or disadvantaged urban areas, may have comparatively fewer ASBA Journal I Spring 2014 33

resources and less funding, which can lead to fewer teachers and educational opportunities – from specialized courses and computers to co-curricular activities and sports teams – as well as outdated or dilapidated school facilities.

Cultural inequity Students from diverse cultural backgrounds may be disadvantaged in a variety of ways when pursuing their edu­ cation. For example, recently arrived immigrant and refugee students and their families may have difficulties navigating the public-education system or making educational choices that are in their best interests. In addition, these students may struggle in school because they are unfamiliar with American customs, social expectations, slang and cultural references.

Familial inequity Students may be disadvantaged in their education due to their personal and familial circumstances. For example, some students may live in dysfunctional or abusive households, or they may receive comparatively little educational support or encouragement from their parents (even when the parents want their children to succeed in school). In addition, evidence suggests that students whose parents have not earned a high school or college degree may, on average, underperform academically in relation to their peers, and they may also enroll in and complete postsecondary programs at lower rates. Familial inequities may also intersect with cultural and socioeconomic inequities. For example, poor parents may not be able to invest in supplemental educational resources and learning opportunities – from summer programs to test-preparation services – or they may not be able to pay the same amount of attention to their children’s education as more affluent parents – perhaps because they have multiple jobs, for example.

Programmatic inequity School programs may be structured in ways that are perceived to be unfair because they contribute to inequitable or unequal educational results for some students. For example, students of color tend, on average, to be disproportionately represented in lower-level classes with lower academic expectations (and possibly lower-quality teaching), which can give rise to achievement gaps or “cycles of low expectation” in which stereotypes about the academic performance of minorities are reinforced and perpetuated because they are held to lower academic standards or taught less than their peers.

Staffing inequity Wealthier schools located in more desirable communities may be able to hire more teachers and staff, while also

34 ASBA Journal I Spring 2014

providing better compensation that attracts more experienced and skilled teachers. Students attending these schools will likely receive a better-quality education, on average, while students who attend schools in less-desirable communities, with fewer or less-skilled teachers, will likely be at an educational disadvantage. Staffing situations in schools may also be inequitable in a wide variety of ways. In addition to potential inequities in employment—e.g., minorities being discriminated against during the hiring process, female educators not being promoted to administrative positions at the same rates as their male colleagues—students may be disadvantaged by a lack of diversity among teaching staff. For example, students of color may not have educators of color as role models, students may not be exposed to a greater diversity of cultural perspectives and experiences, or the content taught in a school may be culturally limited or biased – e.g., history being taught from an exclusively Eurocentric point of view that neglects to address the perspectives and suffering of colonized countries or enslaved peoples.

Instructional inequity Students may be enrolled in courses taught by less-skilled teachers, who may teach in a comparatively uninteresting or ineffective manner, or in courses in which significantly less content is taught. Students may also be subject to conscious or unconscious favoritism, bias or prejudice by some teachers, or the way in which instruction is delivered may not work as well for some students as it does for others.

Assessment inequity Students may be disadvantaged when taking tests or completing other types of assessments due to the design, content or language choices, or because they have learning disabilities or physical disabilities that may impair their performance. In addition, situational factors may adversely affect test performance. For example, lower-income students who attend schools that do not regularly use computers may be disadvantaged – compared to wealthier students with more access to technology at home or students who use computers regularly in school – when taking tests that are administered on computers and that require basic computer literacy.

Linguistic inequity Non-English-speaking students, or students who are not yet proficient in English, may be disadvantaged in Englishonly classrooms or when taking tests and assessments presented in English. In addition, these students may also be disadvantaged if they are enrolled in separate academic programs, held to lower academic expectations or receive lower-quality instruction as a result of their language abilities.

ASBA Affiliate Members 1GPA Mike Chouteau 1910 W. Washington St. Phoenix, AZ 85009 602-327-3735

Arizona Gym Floors Floyd Shelton 11058 E. Onyx Ct. Scottsdale, AZ 85259 480-361-5494

ABM Janitorial Services Wayne Moffet 2632 W. Medtronic Way Tempe, AZ 85281 480-968-8300

ASBAIT (Arizona School Boards Association Insurance Trust) Mike Hoffman or Mark Thurston 1 East Camelback, Suite 840 Phoenix, AZ 85012 602-249-2031

Accelerated Construction Technologies Lori Bennett 22425 N 16th St. Phoenix, AZ 85024 602-272-2000 Adolfson & Peterson Construction General contractor Jaime Vidales 5002 S. Ash Ave. Tempe, AZ 85282 480-345-8700 Ameresco (formerly APS Energy Services) Energy conservation, renewable solutions Sarah (Helmer) Price 60 E. Rio Salado Pkwy., Ste. 1001 Tempe, AZ 85281 480-499-9200 American Fidelity Assurance Donna Sciulara 3505 E. Flamingo Rd., Ste. #6 Las Vegas, NV 89121 800-616-3576 Arizona Correctional Industries Rick Kahn 3701 W. Cambridge Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85009 602-388-7260

Arizona Technology Council Deborah Zack 2 N. Central Ave., Ste., 750 Phoenix, AZ 85004 602-422-9449 Assessment Technology Inc. Electronic learning assessment resources Craig Mayhew 6700 E. Speedway Blvd. Tucson, AZ 85710 877-442-5453 Auto Safety House School bus sales and service Del Anderson 2630 W. Buckeye Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85009 602-269-9721 The Bagnall Company Employee benefit consulting Mark W. Bagnall 1345 E. Chandler Blvd., Bldg. 1, Ste. 103 Phoenix, AZ 85048 480-893-6510

D.L. Withers Construction Dan Withers 3220 E. Harbour Dr. Phoenix, AZ 85034 602-438-9500

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Dave Moen 8220 N. 23rd Ave., Building 2 Phoenix, AZ 85021 602-864-4044

eBOARDsolutions Web-based board governance software Mark Willis, Diane Sandifer 5120 Sugarloaf Parkway Lawrenceville, GA 30043 800-226-1856

BoardBook Scott Ballew P.O. Box 400 Austin, TX 78767 888-587-2665 Climatec Joellen Stingley 2851 W. Kathleen Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85053 602-674-1292

Edupoint Educational Systems Richard Lessard 1955 S.Val Vista Dr., #200 Mesa, AZ 85204 480-833-2900

Core Construction Jessica Steadman 3036 E. Greenway Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85032 602-494-0800 Corporate/Education Consulting, Inc. David Bolger 2150 E. Highland Ave., Ste. 108 Phoenix, AZ 85016 602-957-7552 Dairy Council of Arizona Patricia Johnson 510 S. 52nd St., Ste. 101 Tempe, AZ 85281 480-966-8074 DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy John C. Richardson 2525 E. Broadway, Ste. 200 Tucson, AZ 85716 520-322-5000 DLR Group Karen Heck 6225 N. 24th St., Ste. 250 Phoenix, AZ 85016 602-381-8580

EMC2 Group Architects Architects, planners Dave Gornick 1635 N. Greenfield Rd., Ste. 144 Mesa, AZ 85205 480-830-3838 Facility Management Group Allison Suriano 5415 E. High St., Ste 410 Phoenix, AZ 85054 623-374-2478 First Financial Group of America Benefit Plan Administration, Independent Insurance and Investment Services Matt Lewis 2201 San Pedro Dr. NE, Bldg. 1, Ste. 1201 Albuquerque, NM 87110 800-365-3860

ASBA Journal I Spring 2014 35

Arizona School Boards Association appreciates the support for public education shown by its organization affiliate members.

Fitzform Web Based School Forms Louis Kolenda 4 W 4th Ave. Ste. 501 San Mateo, CA 94402 415-606-3828 Futures HealthCore Sheila Breen 136 William St. Springfield, MA 01105 602-920-4622 GCA Education Services Facilities Services Norm Sendler P. O. Box 21900 Mesa, AZ 85277 480-298-5053 G.V. Enterprises Project managers, procurement consulting Gordon Vasfaret 9102 W. Marshall Ave. Glendale, AZ 85305 623-872-1852 Grand Canyon University Brian Schwertfeger 3300 W. Camelback Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85017 602-639-7168 Gust Rosenfeld Robert Haws One East Washington St., Ste. 1600 Phoenix, AZ 85004 602-257-7422 H2 Group LLC Jeff Cook 17470 N. Pacesetter Way Scottsdale AZ 85255 480-743-7520

HACI Service Scott Wright 2108 W. Shangri-La Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85029 602-944-1555 HDA Architects LLC Pete Barker 459 N. Gilbert Rd., Ste. C-200 Gilbert, AZ 85234 480-539-8800 Hufford, Horstman, Mongini, Parnell & Tucker C. Benson Hufford 120 N. Beaver St. Flagstaff, AZ 86001 928-226-0000 Hunt & Caraway Architects Tamara Caraway 1747 E. Morten Ave,. Ste. 306 Phoenix AZ 85020 602-595-8200 Immedia Edu Daniel Leis 7661 E. Gray Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 85260 480-483-3399 Konica Minolta Business Solutions, USA David Radcliffe 4415 E. Cotton Center Blvd. Phoenix, AZ 85040 602-798-7225 LaSota & Peters Donald Peters 722 E. Osborn, Ste. 100 Phoenix, AZ 85014 602-248-2900

36 ASBA Journal I Spring 2014

Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP Mary Ellen Simonson 40 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85004 602-262-5317 Logicalis Anati Zubia 8945 S Harl Ave., Ste 102 Tempe, AZ 85284 Mangum Wall Stoops & Warden Kellie Peterson P.O. Box 10 Flagstaff, AZ 86002 928-779-6951 Maricopa County Community College Dr. Rufus Glasper 2411 W. 14th St. Tempe, AZ 85281 480-731-8823 Midstate Energy Ron Stalica 1850 E. Riverview Dr. Phoenix, AZ 85034 602-452-8700 M.L. Riddle Painting Inc. Mike Riddle 5922 N. Black Canyon Hwy. Phoenix, AZ 85017 602-277-3461 Mohave Educational Services Co-op Deborah Sandoval 625 E. Beale St. Kingman, AZ 86401 928-753-6945 NTD Architecture Scott Beck 2800 N. 44th St., Ste. 500 Phoenix, AZ 85008 602-956-8844

The Orcutt/Winslow Partnership Paul Winslow 3003 N. Central Ave., 16th Fl. Phoenix, AZ 85012 602-257-1764 Piper Jaffray & Co. William C. Davis 2525 E. Camelback Rd., Ste. 925 Phoenix, AZ 85016 602-808-5423 PracticeMax Inc. Medicaid billing for special education services Chuck Engelmann 9382 E. Bahia Dr., Ste. B202 Scottsdale, AZ 85260 480-421-9700 Professional Group Public Consulting, Inc. Caroline Brackley P.O. Box 30850 Mesa, AZ 85275 480-699-4458 Pueblo Mechanical & Controls Design, build HVAC specialist Steve Barry 6771 E. Outlook Dr. Tucson, AZ 85756 520-545-1044 RBC Capital Markets John Snider 2398 E. Camelback Rd., Ste. 700 Phoenix, AZ 85016 602-381-5361

Regional Pavement Maintenance Steve Leone 2435 S. 6th Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85003 480-963-3416 Ridenour, Hienton & Lewis Legal services Ernest Calderon 201 N. Central Ave., Ste. 3300 Phoenix, AZ 85004 602-744-5712 Rodel Charitable Foundation Jackie Norton 6720 N. Scottsdale Rd., Ste. 380 Scottsdale, AZ 85253 480-367-2920 Sehi Inc. Computers and Products Carol Taylor 1265 Puerta Del Sol San Clemente, CA 92673 Smartschoolsplus, Inc. Phased retirement services Sandee McClelland P.O. Box 11618 Tempe, AZ 85284 480-839-8747 Sodexo Solomon Sile 10255 E.Via Linda Rd., Unit 2078 Scottsdale, AZ 85258 480-313-8804 SPS + Architects Herb Schneider 8681 E.Via De Negocio Scottsdale, AZ 85258-3330 480-991-0800

Stifel Nicolaus Financial services Bryan Lundberg 2325 E. Camelback Rd., Ste. 750 Phoenix, AZ 85016 602-794-4007 Summit Food Service Dave Brewer 2703 Broadbent Pkwy. NE, Ste. F Albuquerque, NM 87107 505-341-0507 Sunland Asphalt Asphalt, concrete, sport courts, tracks, turf and bleachers John McCormack 775 W. Elwood St. Phoenix, AZ 85041 602-323-2800 TCPN – The Cooperative Purchasing Network Victoria Stringham 2100 N. Central Ave. #220 Phoenix, AZ 85004 480-415-6300 Technology Coordinators Utilities and building renewal projects Ed Schaffer 2116 W. Del Campo Circle Mesa, AZ 85202 888-474-5509 Thunderbird Mountain Facilities Perf. David Johnson 5539 W. Melinda Ln. Glendale, AZ 85308 623-825-1730

Traaen & Associates, LLC Human resources management, training and organizational development Teri J. Traaen, Ed.D., DPA 4831 E. Calle Tuberia Phoenix, AZ 85018 602-510-3989 Trane Dave Palty 850 W. Southern Ave. Tempe, AZ 85282 602-258-9600 The Trust Jane Schemers 333 E. Osborn Rd., #300 Phoenix, AZ 85012 602-200-4911 Udall Shumway PLC Denise Lowell-Britt 1138 N. Alma School Rd., #101 Mesa, AZ 85201 480-461-5333 Valic (formerly AIG Retirement) Group retirement plans, individual financial services Michael Lager 11201 N.Tatum Blvd., Ste. 100 Phoenix, AZ 85028 602-674-2603 Valley Schools Mgmt. Group Patrick Dittman P.O. Box 41760 Phoenix AZ 85080 623-594-4370 Wholesale Floors LLC Dan McShane 8855 N. Black Canyon Hwy. Phoenix, AZ 85021 602-741-4552

ASBA Journal I Spring 2014 37


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ASBA 2014 Spring Journal  

In this issue: Feature articles focused on educational equity and closing the achievement gap, including regional efforts, an equity primer...

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